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October 6, 2018

Alex Cora

Boston, Massachusetts - pregame 2

Q. Hi, Alex.
ALEX CORA: Hi, Johnny.

Q. How important would it be to go up 0-2 against the Yankees?
ALEX CORA: 0-2 now?

Q. How important would it be to go up 2-0 against the Yankees?
ALEX CORA: It's very important. They haven't lost a playoff game in a while there. The three Wild Card games. They swept the Astros last year. So it's a tough place to play. Last year that place was alive, the fan base. We played like 4:00 games or 5:00 games, from 3:00, from the get-go it was loud.

I know the rivalry and everything, we played some games there and it's been loud, but nothing like the way it's going to be on Monday. So it will be good to go 2-0 there. And take three shots to win one.

Q. Alex, just how disappointing is it to lose Steven (Wright)?
ALEX CORA: Very. He was throwing the ball well. You prepare for this, and had your plans and the way you're going to use him. All of a sudden Game 1 he wasn't available. You have to kind of like improvise out there.

I'm glad we got 27 outs. But it seemed like the game yesterday was perfect for him. Coming in the seventh and give us three or six outs. Maybe nine, you never know.

Very disappointed. I know he's down. It sucks for him, but we have to move on. We have a game tonight. And we have Heath now. We know how we're going to use him. We'll turn the page and try to win tonight.

Q. How does Porcello feel? And do you plan to stick with him to start on Game 3?
ALEX CORA: He feels great. Let's see how the game goes tonight. He's still in line to start Game 3. But I don't know. We'll try to win tonight, and if we have to use him, we'll use him. And if he pitches tonight, Nate will pitch Game 3.

It's a short series. Whenever you have a chance to win a ballgame, you're all in, and you use all your weapons. After that we'll make adjustments for Monday. We'll see how it goes tonight.

Q. Alex, just going back to Steven, when did he make you aware that something was wrong?
ALEX CORA: It was right after I met with you guys here. There were people waiting for me in the wait room.

Q. What did he feel?
ALEX CORA: No, he worked out. He has to do all these exercises and activation. And actually he has to jump on this thing that kind of like tests where he's at, as far as his balance and everything. He was fine. And then after that he was doing something else. I guess he grabbed a medicine ball and started doing some exercises. That's when he felt it. He went down to the training room and told them that he wasn't feeling right. They checked him out and at that time everything happened very, very fast for everybody.

He had the MRI and we got the results. We had to make a decision. And now we have to move on. We have Heater now, and we go from there.

Q. Alex, can you talk a little about that decision, obviously going with the longer guy like Johnson or Velazquez versus Hembree. Is that something you guys spent a little time going back and forth on, or is that clear what you needed?
ALEX CORA: No, you put everything into consideration. We felt that his fastball is a good one. As you know, he lost his slider, the feel for it, the last few weeks, but it's still 97, 98. I think with a team like that, you have to attack them in different ways. He gives you another look.

I know probably it looks like we're short, but we don't feel that way. There's a few guys that we have in the bullpen that we haven't pushed in a while to go multiple innings. We do feel they can do it. We feel that with the 11 guys that we have, we're covered.

Q. Alex, you guys threw 182 pitches last night, almost half from your bullpen. How closely are you monitoring pitch counts from your relievers at this time of year?
ALEX CORA: We've been taking care of them for the last month. That was the luxury of having a big lead in the division. So their workload the last month has been very, very low. You have studies and you talk to people and all this cool stuff that they do upstairs. And we feel that right now they are ready to go. If they have to pitch like Brandon Morrow last year in the World Series, they're all in, they'll pitch five games.

Yesterday if you take a look at the pitch count, they were okay today. I think Craig was the only one that went kind of like more than 22 pitches. Everybody feels fine. We have an off-day tomorrow. That's the difference between the playoffs and the regular season. You have the off-day and they can reset. If we have to use them tonight, tomorrow they'll show up to the stadium and get their treatment and do all their stuff and be ready for Monday.

Q. How much did the Houston example last year maybe inform how you can use your bullpen, using the multiple-inning guys Peacock and McCullers and Morton? Do you think you can turn to guys for multiple innings?
ALEX CORA: We do feel there's a few guys in our bullpen that they can do that. That was the beauty this year of Hector and B.J. during the regular season. Of course, obviously they are not on the playoff roster, but having guys that can give you multiple innings helps everybody out. In the playoffs sometimes it's by design, sometimes it's because you have to.

We'll see how it plays out. But like I said before, there's a few guys that they haven't pitched multiple innings the last few months. But we do feel that they can do it.

Q. Can you talk about the decision to go with Nuñez over Devers at third?
ALEX CORA: I think we've been talking about Rafy offensively the last month, very disciplined. Hasn't chased too many pitches and we know the potential of him, get hanging split and hit it out of the ballpark. But we do feel that Eduardo has been very consistent with his approach the last month and a half. With David on the mound with those righties, there's a lot of ground balls hit to that side of the infield. And although we feel good about Rafy with his range and everything, throughout the season he wasn't a consistent making the routine play. So in the end we decided to go with Nuny at third base, because we feel he's been the better defensive player.

Metrics-wise you can look at the numbers. It may not show you that way, but we do feel he can make the routine play.

Q. What were the results of the MRI on Wright? And do you think there's a chance he can come back at any point?
ALEX CORA: Can I get back to you on that one? Because I don't have the result. Actually, I haven't talked to Brad about where we're at at this point as far as if he can come back for the third round, for the World Series.

Q. He can officially.
ALEX CORA: Yes, but physically I haven't talked about it. We'll get back to you.

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